IOS Presence and Automations Hopelessly Broken (July 2023)

I have been unable to get presence (based on iPhones) to work correctly no matter what I do lately. I have had things working for YEARS now and updated to edge and got things working there well for the last year now. But lately, nothing works correctly and i’m admittedly frustrated. Curious how others are solving this admittedly basic thing that SmartThings can seemingly no longer handle for some reason.

First, it appears that SmartThings, without any notification to users, broke all phone presence devices and made you recreate all automations surrounding them (annoying, but fine, I updated them). Then, it appears that automations surrounding these new “presence” sensor devices don’t run reliably (I mean…honestly, it’s about 1 in every 20 times). I’ve tried ditching virtual presence sensors for virtual switches; I’ve tried ditching edge drivers for the native switches instead. Nothing seems to work for the presence sensors. If it does work for the presence sensors then the automations aren’t triggered correctly anymore.

The setup I have, is a virtual switch for each iphone that is switched on or off using a routine that has the iphone as the trigger. Basically, iphone presence is on, then the switch turns on. Then I have another virtual switch that turns on or off based on whether any switch is turned on or if all are turned off it turns off (this is called “Anyone Home”) and this is handled in a Rule (via yml via the API). Yet the breakdown lately seems to be with the automation itself. It isn’t updating the device switches. I know this because another part of the automations are push notifications to state whether someone arrived home or left.

Did something change with the way that presence sensors are working for phones? Do they no longer update and cause routines to work? How do I fix?

I’m admittedly beyond frustrated at this point as this is one of the most basic concepts of SmartThings that has worked for YEARS and is now completely unreliable.

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Yeah. There’s definitely something strange going on…
I use Routines for Anyone is at Home / No one is at Home, based on iPhone presence. They set the security mode to Armed (away) or Disarmed. They seem to trigger fine 99% of the time. (Occasionally I get home before it notices, but this is infrequent.)
I also have virtual switches that show individuals as at home or away; also triggered by the same iPhone presence. They (almost) never update until I close and re-start the app. However, the history logging shows that the action did occur at the correct time - it’s just the widget update that takes a re-start.

<Don’t know if this is the same problem you have, or not - but something isn’t quite working right!>

I have had something similar setup for years without issue. But for some reason it will never work for me now. Routines seem to be useless for the presence sensor events.

Many people find ST location tracking is not very reliable and have switched to using other methods such as Alexa or IFTTT. Long discussion about presence in this topic.

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Since you asked what others with iOS are doing, I personally use HomeKit presence and then proxy it into smartthings with a device which can be seen by both platforms.

In the future, for those who have a SmartThings/Aeotec hub this will likely be an inexpensive matter smart plug, since those will run locally with smartthings, but for now I use a Meross power strip. That option does not require a ST hub.

(Also, we should note that any suggestion you find in the forums that requires an edge Driver will also require a smartthings/Aeotec hub since that’s where edge drivers run.)

Here’s a how-to write up I did on the method I use. It does not require an ST hub.

How to Use a Meross Plug to Use HomeKit Presence to Trigger ST Routines

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